Source Code Ownership Agreement

A client had developed an application and asked us to do some small work on its existing application. I told him that we would need to have access to the source code, so the client returned to the original developer to get the source code, just to determine that the developer claimed the source code as his intellectual property and refused to provide it. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have seen this source code possession issue. Here are some of the consequences if you don`t have the source code on your application: If possible, keep possession of the code and license it to the customer: your code is valuable. It may be that the customer only wants the guarantee of knowing that you cannot be revoked from their right to use the code and leave a half-closed website, or they might be worried about reselling an idea in which they believe they have a property interest in a direct competitor. All of this should be part of your negotiations. If you are able to respond to your client`s desire to guarantee the security and assurance of a well-established website, script, class or module, without assigning the code to him, try to retain possession of the code and concede it to the customer instead of assigning it or owning the copyright directly under the “Work-made-for-hire” doctrine. If you choose to release your software to the distribution page under an open source license, note that there are different variations of open source licenses. (see z.B. Wikipedia`s “Open Source Licenses” entry, which describes, compares and contrasts with many licenses. On the other hand, a license is an authorization to use the code without giving up ownership of the code. If the attribution of copyright in software such as the sale of your home, licensing copyrighted software is like renting your home. A license can range from a simple right to use the software, module, script or class in the finished software, from the granting of software rewrite or derivative software rights to all the rights to the code available to the original creator.

A license may or may not be exclusive. When someone uses their programming knowledge to develop a website, application or module, they usually own the copyright to everything they have created. This depends on the owner`s decision as to how to use the software created. It can create a new version of the app on the existing basis or distribute copies of the app under free or commercial license. Everything looks right. But is there a mechanism to delegate the right to own the developer`s source code to others? Let`s see. To protect yourself from unintended consequences, make sure that when negotiating the development agreement, you clarify copyright issues. You have to be absolutely sure that you and the developer understand each other`s expectations. In addition to the functionality of the application, the agreement should describe the rights you will get for the source code after the task is completed. Before creating the first component of the future application, each vendor must ensure that there are no sources of misunderstanding between them and the customer. Participants should clearly understand their expectations, which must be articulated and documented in the software development agreement.

In particular, the development agreement between the customer and the seller should specify who owns the copyright at the end of the project.